South Asia Weekly Updates

February 13, 2015

Afghanistan – CIPE Program Officer for Afghanistan Gregg Willhauck travelled to Afghanistan this week to meet with various stakeholders. Willhauck met with U.S. Embassy and USAID representatives to discuss CIPE’s upcoming program of Provincial Business Agendas to be conducted in three provinces.

Nepal – On February 6, CIPE partner Samriddhi, the Prosperity Foundation held a meeting of its Nepal Leader’s Circle, a group of young political and business leaders. Twenty people attended the meeting, which was highlighted by a discussion of access to finance, moderated by Niranhan Shrestha, Managing Director of the Laxmi Group.

Pakistan – CIPE Pakistan Deputy Country Director Hammad Siddiqui visited the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) to conduct training sessions on advocacy. Through a CIPE small grant, RCCI will advocate for the implementation of economic policy reforms contained in the government's economic agenda. RCCI will draw its data from the tracking reports created with CIPE support by the Islamabad-based think tank the Policy Research Institute of Market Economy.

Pakistan – CIPE Pakistan initiated an online discussion on Google Hangout to celebrate International Anti-Corruption day. Participants discussed anti-corruption compliance for companies in emerging and frontier markets. During the 45-minute discussion, Shariq Zaidi, from Ernst and Young’s Assurance and Fraud department, emphasized the importance of reducing corruption in supply chains. As part of an on-going effort to combat corruption, CIPE Pakistan will continue holding awareness sessions across chambers and associations in Pakistan.  

United Arab Emirates – CIPE Afghanistan Program Officer Gregg Willhauck and CIPE Kabul staff are in Dubai this week to participate in an event organized by the US Department of Commerce, together with the Business Integrity Network for Afghanistan (BINA). CIPE has recently launched a program supported by the Afghan NGO Harakat to build the structure of the BINA initiative.


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December 9, 2014

Pakistan - CIPE conducted two events to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week. One event was a focus group, “How Chambers can Promote Entrepreneurship,” which was conducted in collaboration with Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The second event was a youth private sector leaders' conference on the topic of “How Corruption Hampers Entrepreneurship,” held in partnership with the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Over 40 university students participated in the discussion, with representatives from the Young Leaders Forum of the Islamabad Chamber.

Pakistan - CIPE organized the fourth All-Pakistan Deputy Secretary Generals’ Conference in Lahore. Twenty-two participants, representing chambers and associations from across the country, attended the two-day capacity building session. Topics covered were budgeting, membership development, branding, and marketing. The session also included a discussion of supply chain anti-corruption.

Afghanistan - CIPE and the National Center for Policy Research conducted three training seminars for the Parliamentary Business and Anti-Corruption Caucuses. In total, 84 MPs participated, covering topics such as procurement, money laundering, and tax administration. The topics were selected in consultation with MPs and on the basis of draft laws that are being submitted to Parliament for approval.

Afghanistan - CIPE Afghanistan staff traveled to Mazar-e-Sharif to meet with members of a local advisory board representing various sectoral business associations working on a provincial business agenda (PBA) for Balkh Province, the first initiative of its kind for Balkh. The board will gather to launch the PBA on December 10.

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November 23, 2014

Afghanistan - CIPE Kabul Program Director Mohammad Naim, Program Manager Lailuma Social, and Program Officer Mohammad Ibrahim Hassan met with Member of Parliament Humaira Ayubi, who is part of the Parliamentary Business Caucus and chairperson of the Anticorruption Caucus. The CIPE team and Ayubi discussed CIPE’s new Business Integrity Network in Afghanistan (BINA) initiative, and ways in which BINA can support anti-corruption dialogue between the public and private sectors.

Washington, DC - Ali Salman, director of CIPE’s Islamabad-based think tank partner the Policy Research Institute of the Market Economy (PRIME), conducted various meetings in Washington, DC last week to discuss his organization’s work on monitoring implementation of the Pakistani government’s economic policy platform. PRIME produces a regular scorecard evaluating progress and performance in a range of policy reform areas. Salman and CIPE South Asia Program Officer Jenny Anderson met with representatives of the Wilson Center, the Atlantic Council, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among others. Salman also presented his work at a meeting with CIPE staff, which was attended by USAID personnel covering South Asia.

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November 18, 2014

Nepal - CIPE partner Samriddhi, the Prosperity Foundation held one of its Econity discussion forums on the topic of “Property Rights: A Necessity for or Impediment to Economic Growth?” Among the nearly 40 participants and speakers were Dr. Chiranjibi Nepal, Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister; Dr. Bhimarjun Acharya, Constitutional Expert; and Khim Lal Devkota, Central Committee Member with the UCPN Maoists. The forum was moderated by journalist Yubaraj Ghimire.

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November 11, 2014

SOUTH ASIA

Afghanistan - CIPE Program Officer Gregg Willhauck and Director of the Business Integrity Network (BINA) Haroon Mir convened a focus group in Kabul to launch a new program on business transparency and integrity. Mir presented the participants with information about the mission and objectives of BINA, and sought feedback about the initiative. Willhauck presented on the experience and impact of similar initiatives worldwide.

Pakistan - CIPE Pakistan Advisory Committee Chairman Mahomed Jaffer participated in a roundtable on limited liability partnerships (LLPs), organized by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan. The participants expressed a need for regulation of LLPs. Jaffer advised that an effective communication strategy should be developed to emphasize the benefits of the corporate status of LLPs, and that family-owned firms should be encouraged to become LLPs – and eventually incorporate – to support their growth.

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November 4, 2014

SOUTH ASIA

Afghanistan - CIPE Afghanistan Program Officer Gregg Willhauck traveled to Kabul to conduct a range of program implementation and development meetings. Willhauck met with CIPE partners at the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Pakistan-Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the NGO Harakat (with which CIPE is launching a new business integrity program), and representatives of the US and UK Embassies.

Nepal - CIPE partner Samriddhi, the Prosperity Foundation held one of its Econity discussion forums on the topic of “Economic Freedom the Effects on Small Entrepreneurs in Nepal.” Among the nearly 40 participants and speakers were Dr. Chiranjibi, Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister, Dr. Biswanbher Pyakuryal, a Senior Economist in the Goverment, Laxman Shrestha, Acting Deputy of the Department of Commerce and Supply Management, and Dr. Hemant Dabadi of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, who moderated the event.

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October 28, 2014

SOUTH ASIA

Afghanistan - CIPE Afghanistan staff Mohammad Naim and Matiullah Murad met in Herat with Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) Herat Chairman Saad Khateebi and ACCI Herat CEO Khalil Ahmad Yarmand, and the heads of a number of local sectoral associations, to discuss the Provincial Business Agenda (PBA) for Herat Province. The heads of these associations and key business leaders have been invited to form a coalition to provide the private sector with viable local solutions to policy challenges.

Pakistan - South Asia Program Officer Jenny Anderson, CIPE Deputy Director for Strategy and Programs Andrew Wilson, and South Asia and Eurasia Regional Director Marc Schleifer met with a range of CIPE partners in Karachi, including the Pakistan-Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Uks Research Center, and several associations. In addition, CIPE’s Pakistan Project Advisory Committee convened for a discussion of ongoing programs.

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October 21, 2014

SOUTH ASIA

Afghanistan - In preparations for a Provincial Business Agenda summit to be held in Herat, CIPE Kabul officials Mohammad Naim and Matiullah Murad met with the Vice Chairman Khanjan Alokozai and CEO of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Atiq Nusrat. ACCI will support the PBA process, as they have already done for the PBAs in Nangarhar Province and Balkh Province. They designated the head of the Herat ACCI branch office Saad Khateebi as the principal interlocutor for CIPE to work with in preparing for the Herat PBA meeting. CIPE has also reached out to a number of other business associations active in Herat province to encourage their participation.

Nepal - The Nepal Leaders' Circle (NLC) held a meeting on Agriculture Development Strategy. Agriculture Entrepreneur at the Nimbus Group Anand Bagaria presented at the meeting and the Parliamentary Committee Chair for Agriculture and Energy acted as moderator.

Pakistan - CIPE Program Officer for South Asia Jennifer Anderson traveled to Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi to strategize with the CIPE Pakistan team on programming, assess the current political situation, and meet with current and potential new partners.

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October 3, 2014

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan - The Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) participated in an EU-supported border management workshop focused on northern Afghanistan. The workshop, "Afghanistan-Central Asia Trade and Migration" was held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, and brought together over 100 representatives from a range of sectors, including law enforcement, customs, and various embassy staff from Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Russia, as well as leading international organizations. The discussion focused on border management, refugee protection, custom rules and regulations, and the regional economic importance of connectivity among Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pakistan - The CIPE Pakistan anticorruption and compliance team met with the supply chain manager at Attock Cement Company to discuss compliance issues facing local firms in Karachi. The Attock manager worked with the CIPE staff to document current compliance practices and skill levels, as part of an effort to build a training program tailored to the needs of local vendors.

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September 26, 2014

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan - The Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) attended an inter-ministerial meeting of the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) in Islamabad to discuss agenda items for upcoming fifth Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA) meeting in Pakistan. The Secretary General and Vice President of PAJCCI presented to the MoC that the primary challenge in transit trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan is ineffective implementation and execution of the existing Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement. The MoC agreed that the next step should be internal meetings with the Federal Board of Revenue, Customs, and other related ministries before the APTTCA meeting, which is scheduled for the first week of October.

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